[2007023] Sarah’s Party (Tragic Mole) & Shelf Life

Sarah’s Party (Tragic Mole) & Shelf Life (FringeTIX)

Bare Bones Dance Collective @ Space Theatre

1:00pm, Tues 13 Mar 2007

Plonking myself down in the familiar Space which was rapidly filling up with a swarm of chattering students, I decide to have a read of the program for this show that I picked for no discernible reason. And straight away, I feel the warm glow of validation – for I see that three dancers from 2006’s excellent Not As Others were performing.

The first piece on offer, Shelf Life, was an odd little four-person piece. It’s got a very drunken, booze-riddled feel to it; heads are in hands, movements are initially quick then stumbled, and even some of the music is the equivalent of an aural hangover. It’s an odd performance, not entirely convincing but still of interest.

As dancers take their bows, the set is modified in situ for Sarah’s Party (Tragic Mole) – dancers change their dress, balloons and a fridge appear, and suddenly we’re in the middle of every late-teen party you ever experienced. And it’s a complete experience – as we watch loneliness and jealousy manifest themselves through dance, the stagger of the inexperienced drunk is all too familiar. Time speeds up and slows down – Blondie‘s Heart of Glass, once the life of the party, becomes a dirge. It’s like you’re wearing beer goggles for the ears whilst sober.

The joy of Sarah’s Party comes from its utter familiarity… because of this, I found myself seeing more in the movements of the performers than I expected. And that little experience – of suddenly discovering a common vocabulary – is what I find so enthralling about physical performance pieces. Because what is dance but the ability to express something in a physical way? Well, probably a lot of things, actually, but not for this little neophyte.

Suffice to say that I liked Sarah’s Party a lot. Sure, there’s some things I’d kinda wished happened differently – the ending, for example, is terribly anti-climactic; and yet, thinking about it now, it really seems quite fitting. Sarah’s Party really is an anti-climax for her, and Sarah is almost a by-line, insignificant.

Ooh. That felt rather good.

A peculiar footnote exists in that Sarah’s Party (Tragic Mole) was supposed to be set to a soundtrack of remixed INXS songs. Alas, Bare Bones failed to acquire the appropriate permissions from APRA, and so the Blondie-influenced soundtrack was used instead, requiring a re-interpretation of the original dance. I reckon it’s worked out for the best.

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